You spell zuccini and I spell zucchini or maybe courgette
Spelt at least two different ways (zuccini and zucchini) and known by at least one other name (courgette) the zuccini is versatile in recipes and easy to grow. it is a member of the melon/gourd family. and has large green leaves and rather hairy, almost spiky, hollow stems. It comes in several colour variations - dark green, yellow, light green and stripey green and white.
The really healthily grown zucchini has:
dietary fiber, protein, vitamins A, B6, C, K, folate, thiamin, niacin, phosphorus, copper, riboflavin, magnesium, manganese, and potassium - quite a powerhouse!
You can slice it, dice it, grate it, halve it, stuff it, bake it, boil it, fry it and eat it raw. You can use it in almost any recipe, from soups to stews to cakes and breads. I've not yet come across a recipe for zuccini ice cream or a zucchini based dessert, but I'm sure there is one. If you have it please send it to me and I'll include it in my list of recipes.
You can use zuccini in zuccini bread and it will also moisten up chocolate cake. You can make zuccini pickles and chutney, you can slice and dry it and add it to soup or stews later. Or just eat it dried though it doesn't have much flavour. Zuccini is good in salads or sliced and dipped in batter and fried.
You can make chutney with it or cook it in casseroles. You can make zuccini pie from a pumpkin pie recipe. You can even use it as a filler for marmalade and jam.
You can freeze it too! Do the following: slice it into rounds and steam or saute lightly (until barely tender). Then cool and freeze.
You can also eat the flowers - torn up in a salad or deep fried or even battered.
So, how do I know all this? WHY do I even know all this? Well, it was like this: I once grew a really bumper crop of zuccinis - they practically bumped us out of house and garden they grew so fast and so big and so many! Of course I gave lots away, and we ate lots, but they're kind of bland really. They're a good filler for things, but don't add much in themselves - a bit like chokos. But, as child of parents who grew up in the Depression I couldn't just throw them away, I couldn't just compost them. I HAD to use them, so I started my recipe search. And that's actually why I'm writing this guide. To tell you about my recipes.
I'm sharing them with you because I know how time consuming it can be finding what to do with that bumper crop. So, I've put my recipes on a disc to send to you. The recipes are free - the catch is that the disk also contains my book on decluttering - called "Decluttering for Dummies" - and that part costs $10.95 plus $2.00 postage.
But wait, there's more! The disc also contains a copy of the Desiderata. So, for your $10.95 you get a book on how to declutter your home and your life (step by step instructions), 28 zuccini recipes, a copy of the Desiderata, and a gift certificate.
So, if you want to know what to do with zuccinis - this is the recipe file for you. Print out whichever recipe you like, or print them all.
You need Acrobat Reader which you can download for free. The disk works on both Mac and PC.
But back to the zuccinis, which is what a guide is all about.
Zucchinis have male and female flowers, and you need bees to pollinate them. If you don't have bees you can do the following:
Pick the male flower (the one with the long pistil) and tear off around the petals to expose the pistil. Then, stick the pistil into the femal flower (the one with the little curly tendrils embedded deep within the flower) and roll it around a bit to make sure all the pollen from the male flower gets onto the female flower. You have to do this when the female flower is open; if she has wilted the pollinating won't work, it's too late. Best to do this in the early morning.
What else goes wrong with zuccinis"
Well, the fruit can just go yellow and drop off when it's still quite small. Why?
Probably because the bees aren't doing their job. Your turn to be a bee (see above).
Or, it could be because they are not getting enough water, or even too much water.
Wait until the leaves wilt just a little before watering. Make sure the garden is loosely mulched to keep moisture in (but not with lawn clippings which will keep the moisture OUT).
You may be watering too much - in which case you will rot the roots.
You may be watering too little - in which case they are dying of thirst.
Stick your finger in the soil and if it feels like dry stale bread, you need to water. Add a little soil wetter (you can use very diluted dishwashing detergent) to make sure the soil absorbs the water you sprinkle.
Don't wet the leaves though because this can cause powdery mildew. Which doesn't really seem to hurt the plant, it just looks awful and you don't get quite as good a crop.
You can grow zuccinis in containers on your balcony so you don't even need a garden, and they look quite spectacular in a pot with their large, lush leaves and beautiful yellow flowers - quite showy.
Soak seeds between two sheets paper towel for 2-3 days. When they've sprouted, put them in the ground. Those that don't sprout, chuck 'em out. Sprout in this case means a swelling of the seed and a promise of a bud. Don't wait for leaves to appear as the zuccini will probably die (of shock) when you put them in the ground.
You can also put them straight in the ground - especially in the temperate and warm areas of Australia.
Put them in the ground close to the surface. Not really deep. But make sure they are covered with soil.
Once they're a few centimetres tall, give them some organic fertiliser - preferably compost or rotted manure. If you're growing them in a container, you can use the liquid fertilisers, but not too heavy on the nitrogen because you'll get lots of leaves and not much fruit.
You know, this makes it all sound so complicated, but they're really easy to grow. Just stick in the seeds, water in, keep moist until sprouted (achieved with a light mulch) and watch 'em grow.
The first two leaves that appear are just little round things and you can't tell whether they're cucumbers or rock melons or pumpkins. But the next leaves will be the proper zuccini leaves, which can grow bigger than your hand!
Plant them in the sun - although they can tolerate some shade
Really good tips!
Plant your seeds or seedlings in a large mound. The mound should have a hollow in the centre so you can put water in it. Space your seedlings round the mound. 2-3 plants are more than ample for a family. That way you can avoid watering the leaves of your plants, and save water too.
Cut them off. Do not pull out of the ground because you may damage the roots of the others.
Cut the stems on the fruit with a sharp knife. Harvest them when they are small - they're tastier, and you can eat them at any size.
Check them every day. Try not to grow those huge monsters, but if you do, I have a recipe telling how to use those big round slices from those huge monsters.
So, go look at my shop, there are lots of things there, including the zuccini recipes and the decluttering book (you have to buy the decluttering book to get the recipes, but you'll be glad you did).